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Inspectis dierum

Inspectis dierum (Cong for Catholic Education, 1989) Calling for a study of Latin and the Fathers in seminaries

Inspectis dierum nostrorum

Instruction on the Study of the Fathers of the Church in the Formation of Priests, issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education, 1989

This document is currently available only in Italian on the Vatican website, and in Latin in the Acta Apostolicis Sedis. It is important not only in affirming the necessity of studying the Fathers of the Church, and doing so in the ancient languages, but also in articulating a number of important theological principles relevant to seminaries, above all the relevance of Tradition.

The document can be downloaded here in English: pdf format.

Here are some indicative quotations:

"In various theologies of our times which are detached from the stream of tradition, theological activity is either reduced to pure “biblicism” or it becomes a prisoner of one’s historical horizon by being taken over by the various fashionable philosophies and ideologies of the day. Theologians, who are practically left to themselves, think that they are doing theology but are really only doing history, sociology, etc., flattening the contents of the Creed to a purely earthly dimension."

"To follow the living tradition of the fathers does not mean hanging on to the past as such, but adhering to the line of faith with an enthusiastic sense of security and freedom, while maintaining a constant fidelity toward that which is foundational: the essential, the enduring, the unchanging fidelity usque ad sanguinis effusionem to dogma and those moral and disciplinary principles that demonstrate their irreplaceable function and their fecundity precisely at the times when new things are making headway."

"It is obvious that the study of the fathers also requires adequate instruments and aids such as a well-equipped library from the patristic viewpoint (collections, monographs, reviews, dictionaries), as well as knowledge of classical and modern languages. Given the well-known deficiencies in the humanities in today’s schools, everything possible will have to be done to strengthen the study of Greek and Latin in centers of priestly formation."

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